Archaeology

In a marked cemetery northwest of Lake Baikal, a skeleton was found, buried ceremoniously with a nephrite disk and four arrowheads, one of which was broken and found in the eye socket. An arrow in the eye? That's no accident.

After radiocarbon dating and analysis, it was determined the individual was a 35-40 year-old male from the early Bronze Age, between 2406 and 1981 B.C.

Unlike most hunter-gatherer societies of the Bronze Age, the people of the Baikal region of modern Siberia (Russia) respected their dead with formal graves. This particular specimen was so unique that bioarchaeologist Angela Lieverse traveled across the world just to bring it back to the Canadian Light Source synchrotron for examination.

Nature gets a bad rap, according to a new paper. For thousands of years, fickle weather has been blamed for tremendous suffering caused by massive flooding along the Yellow River, long known in China as the "River of Sorrow" and "Scourge of the Sons of Han."


Shakespeare characterized Richard III as a hunchback because his personal and physical deformities were well known. Certainly some history is written by the winners, and he was a big loser in the War of the Roses, but now everyone can explore the true shape of one of history's most famous spinal columns.

Multimedia experts have created a 3-D model of Richard III's spine and the visualization reveals how the king's spine had a curve to the right, but also a degree of twisting, resulting in a "spiral" shape. During analysis, the skeleton was analyzed macroscopically for evidence of spinal deformity and any changes to the tissue caused by the condition.


Who had the privilege to spend eternal life next to the pharaoh?

Kids and other family members, much like today. If you can afford a tomb, that is.

In the Egyptian Valley of the Kings, excavations by Egyptologists from the University of Basel have been working on tomb KV 40, close to the city of Luxor, for three years. From the outside, only a depression in the ground indicated the presence of a subterranean tomb. Up to now, nothing was known about the layout of tomb KV 40 nor for whom it was build and who was buried there.  


A new study suggests that early humans living thousands of years before Neanderthals, were able to work together in groups to hunt and slaughter animals as large as the prehistoric elephant.

University of Southampton archaeologist Dr. Francis Wenban-Smith discovered a site containing remains of an extinct straight-tusked elephant (Palaeoloxodon antiquus) in 2003, in an area of land at Ebbsfleet in Kent, during the construction of the High Speed 1 rail link from the Channel Tunnel to London. Investigation of the area was carried out with independent heritage organization Oxford Archaeology, with the support of HS1 Ltd.

The inscription on a 3,500-year-old stone may be one of the world's oldest weather reports - and it could cause us to revise our chronology of the ancient Middle East.


The Dig for Richard III, authorized by the Leicester City Council and commissioned and paid for by Philippa Langley of the Richard III Society, unearthed a body and it was declared that of Richard III

Did the Polynesians beat Columbus to South America?

Not according to  archaeological
evidence. The new tale of migration was uncovered by analysis of ancient DNA from...chicken bones.

The ancient DNA has been used to study the origins and dispersal of ancestral Polynesian chickens, reconstructing the early migrations of people and the animals they carried with them.


The Byzantine Empire arose after the death of the Roman Emperor Constantine. To make the empire more manageable, it was split into eastern and western halves, with Rome as the seat of the west and Constantinople as the capitol of the east. Unlike Rome of the time, the Byzantine Empire coupled military might and the religious authority of the Church.

When the Roman Empire collapsed and led Europe into the Dark Ages, the Byzantine Empire continued on and it continued to modernize. You don't last for a thousand years, including holding off Muslim invaders for much of that time, without doing some things right. They finally collapsed in 1453, when Constantinople was captured by Turks. It is known as Istanbul today.
Glastonbury - Britain's Oldest Glass Town

According to Wikipedia and many other online sources the origin of the name Glastonbury is unclear.  On the contrary, it could not be more clear.

While idly thinking about a long-ago visit to Glastonbury Tor I chanced to reflect on the name Glastonbury.  What, I wondered, was the true etymology of the name.  The 'witrin' in the old Celtic name Ynys Witrin seemed to me to resemble the Latin term for glass.  The modern Welsh equivalent 'ynys gwydr' means 'glass island'.  Could the 'glas' of Glastonbury mean glass?  What then of 'ton', which so often means 'town'.  Surely the name should be Glaston or Glasbury.  Why the apparent redundancy?